Now that the future predicted in Back to the Future is in the past, 2015 saw releases of equipment and camera technology from the likes of Canon, Nikon and Sony going way beyond our futuristic expectations. Not that you would always be able to tell just by looking at them. I'm not sure if it is the uncertainty of our present times but we no longer have the confident, Utopian designs and visions of the future. Most camera manufactures have a range of cameras styled on 1960/70s designs, bookshops are selling classic vinyl records, and announced at CES a new turntable and Kodak Super 8 Camera was announced for sale this year. There's certainly comfort in the familiar and the past, but I think there is also a growing desire to appreciate the craft and skills lost within the digital world.
A few users of the new generation Sony cameras I know complain that the cameras operate as computers with lenses, not allowing greater personal control of the settings and 'smart' levels of automation. The end feeling that the camera took more of the shot than you did is not a particularly great feeling for some serious users. Some might say who cares as long as the picture looks great, but this feeling of being an operator of digital software and not the director of a final product has been nagging away at me for some time now.
I'd not shot any film in anger for 14 years until I received a Fuji Instax instant camera this Christmas. Whilst it doesn't compare to a 'proper' film camera experience, the 10 shot film pack brought the memories flooding back. And, of course, you create a real, tangible image to hold in your hands - the pleasure of which is not to be underestimated.
This isn't some hipster rejection of digital technology as I'm still going to be using my digital cameras a lot,but this year I'm going to focus on improving my skills as a photographer by returning to the craft of film. Even though I've only shot 2 rolls/ 20 prints in total, shooting film has already sharpened my wits. Success or not, I'll be sure to report back here.
Oh, and Happy New Year to you, if that's not too late to say....
Till next time,
* Images shot with Mamiya 7II 80mm Kodak Portra 400 & Ilford HP5 400 film